Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Dinner by Herman Koch (read 10/8/15 to 10/12/15)

This was the NNCC book for October, and joy of joy's it was my suggestion.  Hooray.  I first heard about this book both BBC world book club and listening to the author speak about it really made me want to read it.  Koch states in the BBC world book club that the theme is really that violence lurking inside all of us given the correct circumstances and it intrigued me.
This is the story of two couples, actually two brothers and their wives who are meeting for dinner to discuss something horrible their sons have done together.  The first third of the book we don't know what the boys have done.  The repercussions of this act by the boys is far reaching and potentially devastating for both themselves and their parent's futures.
I really liked this book.  I was so happy I selected it.  At the end of the there were still unanswered questions and mysteries that keep me up at night wondering about.  I really like the character, even the unlivable ones, Koch did a great job writing and developing them.  The mystery of the boys deeds and what their parents are going to do about it was doled out the right speed.  Koch suckered us in and kept us asking what is going on?  The characters find themselves in a very complicated situation and are very complicated characters, it all feeds into a well written and suspenseful novel that I couldn't put down once I picked it up, all other books fell to the wayside, because I had to KNOW what was going on.
It seems that at my book club I was the only person who actually liked the book, three others had mixed feelings, and the remaining four didn't like it. I understood their feelings and their reasoning, and it was actually mostly those reasonings that I liked it.
One of the big reasons the book was unlike was that the story got turned upside down, what you expected at the beginning of the book isn't what happened at the end.  I liked that Koch took us down a twisty rabbit hole, that where we thought we knew what was happening and what would happen was wrong, I like when a book proves my preconceived plot notions wrong.
Two, the characters are unlikable, they don't make you want to invest in them.  As I said earlier, I did like the characters and I did invest in them, so I didn't have this issue at all.  I think it is refreshing to sometimes read about unlikable characters, to love to hate them almost.  I didn't hate any of the characters, did I think some were schmucks, yes, did I hate them for it no.  Were some of the characters morally corrupt and not nice people, did I hate them for that, nope.  I viewed them as complicated and layered, the first layer is oh yes look as this nice family and this not so nice family, start peeling away the layers and you start seeing that things are not as cut and dry as they seem.  If felt that Koch did a great job of peeling away the layers and showing us a more complicated family dynamic than at first appeared.
Three, Koch was a lazy writer who left lots of details out because it was too much work.  I don't think he did it because he was lazy, I think he did it to reach a goal, to force his reader to wonder.  That Koch wanted us to come to conclusions.  The disease the father and mother have are never stated.  Names of people and places are often left out.
Four, why was it set in a restaurant.  Koch says in the BBC interview it was set on a restaurant in his neighborhood, and the point was to have the discussion in a public place to avoid violence.
Again I still really liked the book, I thought it was well written.  I recommend it, but I think the caveat is that you might walk away from it with mixed feelings.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

What I Made!

So I have been searching for a good reading journal.
For a while I had been using this beautiful notebook I had picked up from amazon for $13.45 back in January of 2013.   I loved the cover and the feel of it in my hands.  It made me happy to just hold it.

Then I started using it and I discovered there were some issues.  First of all it is blank inside, which I knew it would be when I bought it.

So that meant that I needed to write in all my own entries about my reading. Which I did for about 8 months before I said screw it!  It was a major pain in the butt for me for some reason, probably just that I am lazy.  

I still loved the book but it  just wasn't meeting my needs, I then put the journal in a drawer and began taking book notes on my phone, easier to transfer to my blog sometimes, but it didn't have the feel I wanted.  I wanted a book journal. I knew there had to be a way to revive my little beauty.  So I began searching the internet and Etsy for something I could use.   On Pinterest I stumbled across a free journal by the Modern Mrs. Darcy.  I joined her mailing list and was emailed a PDF of the journal.  I did not use most of it, I admit that.  But the parts I did use were PERFECT!!
There are 5 pages near the back of the journal that were just what I wanted as headers for my journal pages.  Each page had 6 copies of the box I wanted, so I printed the pages 3 times to get enough to fill out my journal and pasted them into it.  There were also these great literary quotes at the bottom of pages, 18 each so I pasted them into my journal on every 5th page, just to give me something to look forward to reading.

I had this small close pin that I am sign a place marker.  
I also used the front quote from her journal and pasted onto the front of mine. That way anyone who looks at it will know exactly what it is.

And Viola, a wonderful custom reading journal that makes me smile every time I pick it up!

Lit-Cube September box: We will never be royals (received 9/21/15)

This was the first box I have received from Lit-Cube.  I was disappointed with the Quarterly box, and really wanted a monthly box with good swag.  Lit-Cube really grabbed me with their themes and the reviews.  It is $29.99 +$5 shipping = $34.99 per month.  It includes one or two books book, a t-shirt (not every time but it says most times), and other book swag.  I loved it.  It was what I imagined my book subscription would be.

 The book was Cage of Deceit: book 1 of Reign of Secrets by Jennifer Anne Davis. ($12.95)  This is the first in a new series, I am suspecting I will be looking forward to the next ones.  I have to say, I don't know what they did to the cover of the book, but it appeals to me textile wise.  It has this soft rubbery feeling cover that just makes me happy to touch for some reason that I can't explain.  anyways the book is about a princess that is also a vigilante.  In order to save her kingdom from war she has to marry a neighboring prince, and it wouldn't be a true fantasy novel if this didn't complicate things.  Its sounds fun and lighthearted.  There was a signed book plate by the author which I immediately put in the front of the book so it wouldn't be lost.

There was a free audiobook The Only Ones by Deckle Edge ($14.99).  It looks like it is a post-apocalyptic novel.  It is from Listen Up, I'm not sure especially since I can't find my free code.  Ooops, it is in my office somewhere I am sure of it.  Hopefully it doesn't have an expiration date.

There was a signed book mark by Nadege Richards, who wrote The Bleeding Heart Trilogy.  I am not sure what this is worth.  I have never read the books but they are available on Amazon Kindle for $0.99 I was able to buy the first one..  Maybe I will be more excited about the signature after I read the series or at least the first book.

There was a wonder full Star Wars Game of Thrones Mash Up T-shirt that I LOVE ($16.99)  I have already worn it a couple of times and it makes me smile every time I put it on.

There was a tin of tea based on the TV Show Once Upon a Time  I got Emma Swan's Tea the Savior,  it is my favorite tea Irish Breakfast mixed with blackberry, Vanilla, Rose Hips and Marigold Flowers.  It is so yummy and makes me very happy!  I received a sample tin worth $4.

There were some little foil crown nail art, super cute and I will totally use at one point. ($2)  Maybe for halloween as we are dressing up as knights and princesses this year.

The final item was this tiny 4oz mug. ($8)  Not nearly big enough for a caffeine addict like me, but I am currently on the hunt for a pretty succulent to plant in it.

Overall I am super happy with this box.  It has tons of good swag and I am looking forward t the book.  So in my book this is a win.

Book Riot Quarterly Box #8 (Recieved 9/17/15)

So, I'm a little behind on posting.  This is my second quarterly box, and I really feel on the fence about it.  I liked this one better than the last one, but I still wasn't jumping up and down with excitement.  It was just kinda eh to me.  I'm going to wait for the December box shows up and make my final decision then.  Besides who doesn't love more packages at Christmas time.

My favorite thing I received was a koozie that says Read More.  I have used it more than anything else received.  It is perfect for an ice cold Dr. Pepper or beer.  I really like it.  I'm not sure how much it is worth as you can't seem to buy it anywhere, so I guess it is priceless.

Another item that is priceless was this custom pennant that says Books!  Per the description it was exclusively created for Quarterly subscribers.  It was ok, I have it hanging on my wall, I wasn't really all that thrilled about it, but it was not bad. 

There was also a bundle of three notebooks titled Field Notes, they are listed on Amazon for $9.95.  My husband really likes to keep notebooks in his pocket at all times so he can easily write down whatever he is thinking.  These books are 3.5" x 5.5" so they fit perfectly in his jean pockets.  I was quite willing to give them up and encourage his free flow of thoughts on paper.

There were two books included in the box.  The first is On Beauty by Zadie Smith ($17.00). The back of the book doesn't really tell us what the book is about.  The description did tell me some in the Quarterly letter, but I still had to look it up on Goodreads.  I guess it is about affairs and mixing of cultures in a family.  The descriptions is leaving me still unsure what the book is actually about. Hmmm....I'll give it a shot, but I think it is lower on the to-read list than the other book received.

The second book in the bSkippy Dies by Paul Murray ($16.00).  This is about roommates at a Dublin school.  The fact that this is set in Ireland is enough to move it up on my list all on its own.  My anniversary is St. Patrick's day, and my husband and I are trying to plan an Ireland trip to celebrate one of these years.  (If only I could stop buying books, right?)  So, it seems as we plan I am drawn to anything Irish, and this perks up my ears.   It is about these 14 year old boys exploring the mysteries of life and death after their friend (Skippy) dies.  It sounds fun and I am looking forward to it.  There was also a poster created for Quarterly with the Seabrook song and has a bunch of graffiti on it.  I'm thinking the poster will make more sense and be cooler after I read the book, but right now its not really that fantastic to me.  And again it is priceless.

The overall verdict is that this was a good value for the money, I'm just not sure it was a good value for me.  Maybe third time will be the charm.